Downgrade Vista Business to XP - Short Version



There's a lot of conflicting information online about this issue.

Please, please, if anyone knows the 'short answer' to this question...

I have a computer that came with Vista *Basic* pre-installed.
Understandably, we wanted to get rid of it (despite months of 'trying to get
used to it') but unfortunately you cannot buy XP anymore. We were advised by
Microsoft phone support to buy Vista Business and then downgrade.

Annoying waste of money? Sure. But we're desperate for an OS that, you know,

So we buy Business and install it.. but there doesn't seem to be any
'downgrade' button or option to choose.

I've been looking online.. some people say a retail-bought Business won't do
it at all, others claim I have to *buy a new XP* (As established, this is
impossible) and install it over Vista.. (Which doesn't make sense, because
surely, if I COULD buy a new XP, I'd just install it like normal and not NEED

As you can see, I'm confused. I'm hoping someone here knows exactly what's
going on.




Ok, I've dug up an OLD XP disc..

If I install that instead - format the drive - will I need to/be able to pop
in the Vista Business disc to install required drivers?

I will check the MW, thank you.

Not Even Me

You need to check the manufacturer's website to see if there are drivers for
Drivers from the Vista CD will most likely NOT work with XP and vice versa.
If the manufacturer does not have XP drivers, you 'may' be able to track
down drivers for each piece of hardware individually.
I did that for an early Vista laptop and it was successful, but the longer
Vista is out, the harder it gets.
I downloaded all the drivers and burned them to a CD.
I then booted from the XP CD and installed it.
After the XP install and reboot, I checked device manager for devices that
were not functioning and installed the drivers from the CD.

Bob Knowlden

This isn't a recommendation, but it is not "impossible" to buy an XP package
at this time. has OEM XP packages for sale Pro and Home. (The main
limitations to the OEM versions are that they can't be installed as
upgrades - that doesn't apply to you - and they are not, according to the
license, transferrable to a PC other than the first one on which it is

You shouldn't have to pay for XP, though, if you've already purchased a
Vista version that includes downgrade rights. However, you'll still have to
come up with XP installation media. Whatever you do, you will have to do a
clean install of XP. It can't be installed over Vista.

As others have remarked, I hope that you can find all the XP drivers that
you'd need. If it's an appliance PC (Dell, Compaq, etc.), the manufacturer
may only support configurations that they sell. That is likelier to be a
problem if it's a notebook PC; they tend to be more propietary than desktop

Perhaps you'd save yourself money and aggravation in the long run by buying
a Macintosh.



Earle Horton

At activation time if XP fails to activate you can now call the phone
number, tell them you are downgrading a copy of Vista Business, and get XP
from your old disk activated. That is what your downgrade rights that come
with Vista Business entitle you to do. If your old XP disk came with a
Product Key that you are not using, then you didn't really need to get a
copy of Vista Business at all.

Drivers come from the computer manufacturer's web site, not from Microsoft
and not from the Vista Business disk you have now. If you have a Dell,
chances are real good that their Vista drivers will work under XP. If you
have another brand, maybe not. Check the manufacturer's web site, probably

When this came up I had no trouble finding lots of places to buy fresh
installable-without-red-tape copies of XP. For example,



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